Over the past month I have made it my goal to stop using the proprietary MP3 format for audio in favor of the free, open standard Ogg Vorbis format. The primary reasons for doing this is 1) Modern Linux distributions do not ship with mp3 support built in (due to licensing constraints) and 2) My Sanza Fuze supports ogg format. Add these two elements the fact that ripping a CD into ogg format is far faster than ripping it into mp3 format, and you can see why I would choose to migrate to ogg.
Now the problem lies in the fact that I have a fairly large collection of music files that are all in mp3 format. Having to convert 5,000+ files, one by one, via command line would cause even me to pull out my hair. So I decided it was time to search for a tool that would handle the conversion for me. The criteria for this conversion was that the tool had to be easily installed and easily used. My goal is to try to convince new users to shy away from either DRM formats or closed formats. And we all know, when dealing with new users, the easier the better. And so with that in mind, my hunt for the perfect tool landed me with Sound Converter.
Sound Converter is a GNOME-based conversion tool that can read anything the GStreamer library can read, which includes:
Once read, Sound Converter can then convert the file into:
The best feature of Sound Converter is that it can convert a single file or a directory of files. Add to that the usaual simplicty of most GNOME applications and you have the ingredients for a perfect solution. With that said, let's get to it.
Installing Sound Converter
You will be glad to know Sound Converter is located in the Ubuntu repositories (as well as in the repos for most distributions). So all you need to do is fire up your Add/Remove Software utility and do the following:
That's it. After a brief moment Sound Converter will be installed.
Running Sound Converter
You will find the Sound Converter application in the Sound and Video sub-menu of the Applications menu of the GNOME desktop. When you open up Sound Converter you will be greeted by a very simple main window (see Figure 1). It should be obvious, from the looks of the main window, the developer had simplicity in mind when creating the interface for this tool.
Pretty much all you do is add files/folders to the list and click convert. Of course you first will need to configure Sound converter to meet your needs. Before you add a single file or folder to the list click on the Edit menu and select Preferences. When the preferences window opens (see Figure 2) you will want to take care of the following options:
The most important option is the Format. For my needs the format will be Ogg Vorbis. Once that is complete click Close and you are ready to convert.
There are two ways to add files/folders to the Sound Converter list. The most obvious way is to click either the Add File or Add Folder buttons and navigate to the file/folder you want to add. Another method is to open the Nautilus file browser and drag and drop the files/folders into the Sound Converter window.
Once you have all of the files/folders listed in the main windows click the Convert button and Sound Converter will do its thing. In the end what you will have is solid quality converted files in the format of your desire. No command line necessary!
Thank goodness for simple GUI tools that would have previously required creating bash scripts to handle batch conversion. Most users do not have the time or inclination to research creating such scripts. It's a good thing Sound Converter is there to handle the job.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.